17 February 2010

Why one should not read

'It’s very bad to read books. The plain truth is that there is probably no greater obstacle to enlightenment than reading. Even those of us who have made a little progress read books like the Hekigan-shu without understanding much. When we get beyond the level of our experience we are completely at sea. Should one get the habit of putting his own subjective interpretations on the passages he does not understand, he will be handicapped considerably when he sits in zazen. He will not be satisfied with the stage he is at but will anticipate the next and wait impatiently for satori to come. The result is that for want of proper application at his present level, his way becomes obstructed. Reading can thus be a real poison. So I advise you not to attempt it….'
– Natsume Sōseki, Mon

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